Investigators working to determine cause of small plane crash in NJ

Investigators were trying to determine what caused a small plane to plunge from the sky and into a house in a residential neighborhood of New Jersey.

The Cessna 414 crashed into the house at 84 Berkley Avenue in Colonia at about 11 a.m. The crash sparked a fire that spread to a nearby house.

The pilot, retired cardiologist Dr. Michael Schloss, was killed. 

No one was home at the time of the crash, according to an official on the scene.  No civilians were injured.

The plane lodged into the back of the home and in the basement.

Dozens of firefighters responded to the scene in Middlesex County. The fires were under control a short time later.

The NTSB was on the scene.

"The plane apparently clipped trees," said Mayor John E McCormac.  "It clipped the house at 88 Berkley Avenue. It went into the house at 84 Berkley Avenue. That house at 84 was a total loss. The two houses on either side, 80 and 88, were damaged. Everyone got out."

The flight had left Leesburg, Virginia, with only the pilot aboard. It was headed to Linden Airport, about four miles from the crash site. 

Linden Airport manager Paul Dudley said Tuesday he spoke to Schloss' family in Virginia. He said he knew Schloss for 30 years and called him "a Renaissance man."

Dudley said Schloss also was a licensed airplane mechanic. 

The weather was overcast and misty at the time of the crash.

The neighborhood of well-kept, one- and two-story houses is nestled between a golf course and an elementary school, and not far from a New Jersey Transit rail line.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.